Friday, March 2, 2012

4 Weeks Down - (look for photos Saturday)

Hello everyone!

Another week down and it feels like I’ve been here a long time but at the same time not that long at all.  Here's what all happened this week:
I got another great compliment when one of my missionary friends from gym time told me that the first time he saw me playing volleyball he thought I was Tom Cruise. He calls me Tom Cruise now every time I see him and still thinks I look like Tom Cruise so I guess that's a big compliment.
Romance is in the air! One of the zone resource teachers named Hermano Staples who comes in and talks/teaches a lot got engaged this week! He came in and asked us for ideas so I got to give him a lot of ideas on what to do and I've only seen him once since the night before so all I know is that she said yes but I'm not sure how he asked.  Hermano Monroe has a girlfriend now, and he's actually one of my teachers.  Hermana Van Vliet is already married so not too much new for her.
We are doing this new thing in our class where every week our teacher gives one of us a new tie based on who put forth the effort in talking only in Spanish in the classroom or while they are around.  The first week ended on Monday and I won the tie! It's a zip on tie that I don't really like but it was a nice gesture and I was happy to win.  There are only 3 of us competing against each other so chances are we'll all win twice.
Spanish is coming along really well.  I can say almost everything I want to about the gospel in simple terms but I need to learn a lot more about other words that I would use when talking about anything else outside the church. But I can understand 95% of what my teachers are saying and I can even tell when they make mistakes when they're speaking when conjugating verbs or whatever.  So things are coming along nicely.  I am also starting to forget words in English. Yesterday I taught by myself in a workshop using English and I couldn't remember a lot of words in English that I wanted to use like "Atonement" and "wicked".  That was interesting.  The biggest challenge right now is teaching with 3 people.  Elder Perez and I had the teaching part down really well and now that we have 3 and have to take turns speaking equal amounts of time it's really difficult.  Elder Jackson just isn't on the same page and goes off and tangents and then expects us to bring it back to the lesson. We're working hard though.
So the highlight of the week was Tuesday night when President Holland came and spoke at the devotional.  Never have I felt the spirit about a person as strong as I did with an apostle of the Lord.  He talked about using the Book of Mormon more, staying converted after the mission and not falling away, as well as being an example because usually the first thing people think about when they hear "Mormon" is missionaries.  It was so great and I loved it.  Apparently Elder Holland and Elder Nelson came the night before we entered the MTC and we just missed them so it was good to hear from an apostle.
Kenny (Chatfield, John's former roommate) came to the MTC yesterday! I was so excited and was constantly looking for him all over the MTC and I finally found him today at lunch!  His classroom is in the same building as mine and just one floor down.  When we were teaching I heard that there was a new Tongan district in our building and I didn't get to go down there until a few hours later and they had gone already but I left a note on Kenny's desk and finally saw him today! I will have to take a look at his schedule and see if we have the same meal times or gym time.  I would love to see him as much as I can.
Mom, I am also going through the Ensign as well with all the talks from the last general conference.  I brought it with me and am almost all the way through.  I just have to read the Sunday afternoon session.  We never have enough personal study time here so it's hard to find time to read everything.
It's great to hear how everyone is doing! Good luck Jackson! Being able to swim every day will help you get a lot better quickly and when you have a lot of older guys on the team it will help you get better even quicker. 
Grandpa hasn't written me yet.  And I did send a letter to Forrest and he emailed me last week. I didn't get anything back from him this week but hopefully he saw it!
Also thanks for the (USA v. Italy) soccer update! We got the score from Elder Perez's dad but not any more information so I was really glad to read all that!
Love you all, and I love getting all the letters to hear how everyone's doing. Send more (:

- Elder John Gaskill

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